Recent comments

  • Most Invigorating Albums (Rock/Jazz) [in-progress]   5 days 23 hours ago

    I recommend Kind of Blue for #1 ;)

  • Favorite Literature   6 days 20 hours ago

    I guess I could borrow Portrait from a library. I'll let you know if I do!

    Same goes for you: I'm quite curious about your thoughts on Notes from Underground :D

  • Rock : 100 Greatest Albums   1 week 2 hours ago

    Fo shizz. So then, Music for Airports played forwards then backwards, by Neutral Milk Hotel. Got it! :-)

  • Top 10 Movies, Music & Miscellaneous Art of the Week (2014)   1 week 2 hours ago

    Yes, I have his self-portraits on my ridiculously long "to do" list of works to more thoroughly evaluate. I agree, that Self Portrait at 63 is possibly his most moving ... in short: the effort/pain in his face, the loneliness/oblivion, the darkness closing in around him...

    Whoa, I must've missed that "flayed ox" Rembrandt. Never seen that work before. Helluva crucifixion :) Perhaps an inspiration for Francis Bacon?

    Hopkins remarks killed me into sudden goosebumps, and almost brought some tears. I feel very close to Beethoven's piano sonatas, and they may be my favorite cycle of his, though -- man -- there are his f-ing symphonies to contend with... His piano sonatas are probably his most personal though (String Quartets having the best argument). But, anyway, Beethoven is my favorite artist of any kind, so it's difficult not to get sent to pieces when someone as eloquent as Hopkins describes my sentiments so well...

    Speaking of Beethoven, DAMN Karajan's 1977 Symphony cycle is incredible (with perhaps the best Symphony 3, 5 and 8 by any conductor). I've been revisiting them this weekend, and it's ikely Karajan's best Beethoven cycle, and very possibly the best overall by anyone.

  • Top 10 Movies, Music & Miscellaneous Art of the Week (2014)   1 week 6 hours ago

    I will never dispute the value of Nightwatch, as Rembrandt is Rembrandt is Rembrandt (who else could show God in a flayed ox?? Or inject so much vitality in seemingly haphazard lines) but the self-portraits--taken in sum--are, for me, perhaps the greatest story ever told, in any form. I couldn't tear myself away from the Self-Portrait at 63. There's a strange, teasing quality to the mouth that I can't shake... I don't have the eloquence to write about them, but Antony Hopkins's remarks on Beethoven seem pertinent:

    The thirty-two piano sonatas of Beethoven are his most significant and revealing biography, worth more than all the thousands of pages that have been written about him. In them we see not the exterior events of day-to-day life, as we do in most biographies, but the infinitely more important life within. In these sonatas lie the stages of a great composer's journey, which paradoxically began with the complete confidence of a young man who knew he had the stuff of genius, and which ended in loneliness, with the composer cut off from the world by a barrier of silence, pushing bravely but sometimes gropingly into a new era.

    Perhaps I'm mistaken and it's really the sonatas which are the greatest story ever told!?..

  • 10 Paintings and others   1 week 10 hours ago

    I'm not knocking the appreciating or study of art from books. I won't see every piece by Bruegel but I can enjoy them work in books. I can also change my opinion of works I've seen later on the internet. I'm from Scotland which isn't a great place for art but then i'm not far from Europe.

  • Top 10 Movies, Music & Miscellaneous Art of the Week (2014)   1 week 12 hours ago

    Okay, I'll ignore that one. Hopefully a new one on the way at some point?

    RE: nudes, I totally agree it largely depends on the artist. I went through tons of them within those 15000, all of them modern, approx 1950 - Present, and virtually all of them derivative/almost became parodies...

    Love Rembrandt! I've almost added Nightwatch to my 8.8/10+ list on a few occasions and find several of his others to be absolutely amazing.

    I went through a bit of Titian last year and found several of them great. Need to revisit/re-evaluate before adding to my list(s).

    Oh, James...

    Yes, Verdi IS :-)

  • Top 10 Movies, Music & Miscellaneous Art of the Week (2014)   1 week 12 hours ago

    First off, please stay off my Favourite Paintings list!!!!!!!! It is hopelessly out of date :). None of my lists have been attended to in ages, but the Painters one in particular expired long ago.

    I admit I have not yet hit a saturation point with nude females, but it all depends on the execution. People like Rembrandt, and Titian engage me irrespective of their subject matter. I am reminded of what James wrote about Shakespeare: "The subjects of the Comedies are, without exception, old wives' tales--which we are not too insufferably aware of only because the iridescent veil so perverts their proportions. The subjects of the Histories are no subjects at all; each is but a row of pegs for the hanging of the cloth of gold that is to muffle them".

    I know what you mean about finding people to go with, it's not uncommon for me to wind up at the theatre alone and then be surrounded by what seems to be the entire senior population of the city. But I never regret going. I'm also becoming more and more convinced that Verdi was a genius of the highest order.

  • Favorite Literature   1 week 13 hours ago

    I have not read Notes from the Underground, although I've intended to for ages now. Thank-you for reminding me. I feel like I've neglected Dostoevsky, having only read Crime & Punishment.

    While Washington Square is a good book I do not think it ranks among James's best; it was a necessary prelude to the astonishing masterwork that is The Portrait of a Lady. It, and Confidence, are best understood as experiments in which James negotiates artistic problems. Portrait would be, I think, the best place to begin. And from there the brilliant late short stories and novellas: "The Jolly Corner", "The Altar of the Dead", "The Beast in the Jungle", "The Figure in the Carpet", "The Middle Years", etc.

    If you ever get around to James (Washington Square or otherwise) do let me know what you think!

  • Top 10 Movies, Music & Miscellaneous Art of the Week (2014)   1 week 15 hours ago

    What?!?!? You mean you can't hear Iggy's obvious homages to Ode to Joy? ;-)

  • Rock : 100 Greatest Albums   1 week 15 hours ago

    It's a work of genius, dude. Enjoy taking your crack. Just a heads up: It's a lo-fi double album and it's mostly very slow.

  • Top 10 Movies, Music & Miscellaneous Art of the Week (2014)   1 week 15 hours ago

    Nah. You’re right. We can certainly compare the quality. We always do!
    I have heard Beethoven's 9th and Fun House several times, I love them both and I think they’re on the same level. It would be pointless to compare them musically though, so I won't even try to :-)

  • Most Invigorating Films (in progress)   1 week 19 hours ago

    Thanks, I'll have to revise mine at some point ... Metropolis probably still #1 for me too though.

  • Most Invigorating Films (in progress)   1 week 20 hours ago

    RE: GBH... yes he is :D

    By the way, I tried making a rough list of Most Invigorating Films myself. This is what I've got so far:

    1. Metropolis (1926)
    2. Touch of Evil (1958)
    3. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
    4. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
    5. Breakaway (1966)
    6. North by Northwest (1959)
    7. The Truman Show (1998)
    8. A Hard Day's Night (1964)
    9. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
    10. The Terminator (1984)
    11. Brazil (1985)
    12. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
    13. The Incredibles (2004)
    14. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1980)
    15. Face/Off (1997)
    16. The Dark Knight (2008)
    17. Seven Samurai (1954)
    18. The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
    19. High Noon (1952)
    20. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
    21. The Great Escape (1963)
    22. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

    Not sure about the order after #9 though.

  • Favorite Literature   1 week 22 hours ago

    If you haven't read it, I highly recommend Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground.

    Also, something I was curious about: the only Henry James book I have, for some reason, is Washington Square. Is that one worth reading according to you?

  • Favorite Painters   1 week 1 day ago

    How did I not know you made this list?????????????????????????????

    EXCELLENT choices :-)

  • Top 10 Movies, Music & Miscellaneous Art of the Week (2014)   1 week 1 day ago

    It isn't really that much different than your qualitative comparison between Fun House as 10/10 and, say, Astral Weeks or Passion as 9.5s on your rock list, is it?

  • Top 10 Movies, Music & Miscellaneous Art of the Week (2014)   1 week 1 day ago

    Great to see you back! Yes, my appetite for paintings has been f-ing monstrous and taken over most of my recent free time ... :-) or :-( ??? ... I don't believe I've seen that Giovanni, and he may even be totally new to me -- though his style makes me think I may have caught some of his other works at some point last year. Either way, he is awesomely strange indeed. Thank you, I will definitely be looking into him some more!

    I have been a bit of a blitzkrieg, but the "15000" may have been (unintentionally) misleading. I didn't "thoroughly study" all 15000. Most of them were "effective, good works/well painted", but even a majority of those were almost immediately evident that they were "below-7/10" per my criteria so I hardly spent much time on them at all after giving them a good, efficient, look-over. What I found most worthy is what I ended up adding to my list during that time span (the percentage of which could also seem really depressing).

    On a different note: I love women as much as the next heterosexual male earthling, but one annoyance I would like to express is that I got really tired of seeing paintings of a nude, lonely woman mired in pathos, with her head turned away from the viewer, or looking off into the distance, or some variation. Seriously, most of those are the "bad new age/pop music" of visual art!!!

    Thanks for the recommendations of operas too. I live in Oregon, USA. We have a solid Symphony, and operas such as Mozart, etc, do come through here somewhat consistently. I have a good number of friends but only a few that like (some of) the same music/art as I do, so when I go out, (for some reason) it's rarely been to the theater, or symphonies/operas. My tastes being in the minority among them, usually I am the one sort of holding my tongue and going to see the latest Spiderman movie or something ;-) But maybe I'll twist some arms and take one or two to go get some Mozart on.

    Yes, literature ... oh, the time ... someday I hope?

  • Top 10 Movies, Music & Miscellaneous Art of the Week (2014)   1 week 1 day ago

    I see your appetite for art hasn't diminished! I continue to think your methods are bizarre (15000 paintings in a few weeks! As far as painting goes I've been communing with only Charlotte Salomon for that amount of time) but I certainly don't knock it.

    I see literature still isn't your thing, but I highly recommend this very short piece written by Borges on Shakespeare. Beautiful, and will hopefully convince you to pick up Othello or King Lear or The Winter's Tale!?! I'm not sure where you live but are the MET Operas screened to a theatre near you? Virtually all of them are incredible (I saw Macbeth today) but you should especially, if possible, check out The Marriage of Figaro which is coming up. One of the most sublime works in any field, of all time.

    I will be sure to check out your new lists of paintings..!

    Edit: have you seen the work of Stefano di Giovanni? A weird, wonderful Gothic painter... Here is an example.

  • Rock : 100 Greatest Albums   1 week 1 day ago

    Hmmm, looks like I'll have to take a crack at Natural Snow Buildings' "The Dance of the Moon and the Sun"!

  • Top 10 Movies, Music & Miscellaneous Art of the Week (2014)   1 week 1 day ago

    While I would obviously agree with you that it's easier to compare stylistically to its more direct predecessors in rock such as MC5 or The Doors (or various works of 60's experimental jazz), I don't think it's particularly difficult to compare it to how amazing I find any classical work (or any other form of art, even if on a different planet stylistically), and besides, it's not so far removed, in spirit/progression of intensity, from the likes of, say, Beethoven's 5th or several atonal works of the 1900s or (much later) Branca's The Ascension, etc. That said, Musical Offering certainly wouldn't be my first point of comparison...

  • Top 10 Movies, Music & Miscellaneous Art of the Week (2014)   1 week 1 day ago

    The Stooges were original and their music owes nothing to classical music. It won't make sense to compare, say, A Musical Offering and Fun House. Personally I think Fun House is in the same league as A Love Supreme or White Light/White Heat.

  • Top 10 Movies, Music & Miscellaneous Art of the Week (2014)   1 week 2 days ago

    Well, there you go, 8.5 now. Maybe it will return -- after several years away -- to my all time masterpieces list. It has a legit shot.

  • Best American Idol / X-Factor / TV Talent Show Performances (Music Only)   1 week 2 days ago

    Wow, she is actually really good. She turned Passenger's "Let Her Go" -- a mediocre song at best (imo) -- into an emotionally affecting "lost Lisa Germano" track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTuLDimhKaY

  • Top 10 Movies, Music & Miscellaneous Art of the Week (2014)   1 week 2 days ago

    I just re-listened to Fun House and I'd say that it's at least as ferocious as I remember and has a very good shot at a high-8 or 8.3+. I'll have to listen to it again (soon) to determine... plus, I may also want to revisit their debut beforehand...